The High Court of Karnataka has declared that nominated members of municipalities and town panchayats under the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, are not entitled to be enrolled in the electoral rolls to caste their votes in the election to the Karnataka Legislative Council from the Local Authority Constituency (LAC).
Also, the court has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to delete the names of 39 nominated members of various town panchayats, coming under the Chikkamagaluru local authority constituency (LAC), from the voter list of the constituency.
Justice Hemant Chandangoudar passed the order while allowing the petitions filed by A.V Gayathri Shanthe Gowda of Chikkamagaluru who unsuccessfully contested from the Congress to the Legislative Council from the Chickkamagaluru LAC., and some of the elected members of the town panchayats.
While interpreting the provisions of the KMC Act and Article 243-R of the Constitution of India, the court said that, “Merely because the parliament has not amended Section 27(2)(b) by restricting only the elected members to be registered in the electoral roll after Article 243-R was inserted, it cannot be implied that the term “every member” as specified in Section 27(2)(b) of the RP Act, 1950, includes nominated member to the town panchayat”
Construing the provisions of the KMC Act to mean that nominated members have vote in the elections from the LAC would lead to an absurd result since the person nominated by the government are neither the councillors as defined under Section 2(6) of the KMC Act, 1964 nor they have the right to vote in the meetings of the town panchayats, including the election to the chairperson of the town panchayats, the court said.
“The term ‘every member of the local authority’ means ‘only the elected members’ who are the councilors of the town panchayat and the said term cannot be extended to persons nominated by the government to the town panchayat, who are not the councillors of the town panchayat and interpretation otherwise would lead to absurd results and goes against the spirit of Article 243-R of Constitution of India and Section 352 of the KMC Act, 1964,” the court observed.